Abta today called on Chancellor George Osborne to take action in four key areas in this month’s Budget to support the travel industry.
The four-point action plan is designed to enable travel to maximise its contribution to economic growth and job creation while also recognising the important role played by all three sectors of the tourism mix – domestic, inbound and outbound.
The association’s action plan is based on the policy principals outlined in its recent ‘Valuing the UK’s Tourism Mix’ paper.
In a letter to Osborne, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer calls for:
• Action on Air Passenger Duty – Following last month’s PricewaterhouseCoopers report, which found that abolition of APD would result in a net tax gain for the Exchequer, Abta supports the A Fair Tax on Flying call on government to take immediate action in relation to the level and impact of APD and halt further increases in the tax.
• Strategic infrastructure support – The government should support capacity expansion at airports where it is needed and the HS2 high speed rail line should run via Heathrow from the outset and not around it, making it an integral point on the London to Birmingham route.
• Addressing squeezed consumer spending power – Abta encourages the Chancellor to look favourably at plans to encourage additional spending by families to support the wider economy, including spend on the annual family holiday.
• Cutting red tape – There are opportunities in each sector of the economy to remove unhelpful regulation. One simple and inexpensive way to do this in travel and tourism would be to make sales of travel insurance by travel agents and operators exempt from regulation as they are in other parts of the European Union. This would remove a burdensome and expensive regime that has also resulted in more people travelling uninsured.
Tanzer said: “We understand that the government has to make some economic tough decisions, but it is also important to focus on policies that deliver growth.
“Our four-point action plan sets this out very clearly. Through reviewing its policies on Air Passenger Duty and strategic infrastructure, addressing squeezed family incomes and cutting red tape, the government can create the conditions for the travel industry to thrive, creating jobs and building the economy in the process.”
Abta head of public affairs Luke Pollard added: “Ministers must look again at the policies that are preventing tourist businesses growing and taking on more people.
“Addressing Air Passenger Duty is one such policy obstacle and we’re pleased to see so many MPs backing our campaign – A Fair Tax on Flying – privately and publicly. We’ll keep the pressure on.”
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